MATERIALS: Plywood, motors, electronics.
DURATION: 2 mins. 32 secs.
Introducing a kinetic event in three (tree) acts intended to draw upon the thematic visuals of “Seasonal Stillness”. It was exhibited at the PS50 exhibition space as part of a partnership with the RMIT Public Art Collective and was funded through RMIT link-arts.
I could get all mysterious and say “make up your own mind about the symbolism”. Instead I will do a bit of explaining as it dovetails into other work I’ve done, and if anything this website is about an overall narrative arc of hits and misses, and to highlight my own dazzling self-importance, so here goes: In the throes of 2014 I became absorbed in machines and their place in history past, present and beyond. I also became interested in ways in which to present art using a variety of containment devices. Whereas a painter uses a frame I began mounting my 3-dimensional art in boxed environments as a kind of small scale installation “theatre". For Seasonal Stillness the “theatres” would be made from processed plywood sheets, which no longer resemble their past life as a tree. In turn they played host to plastic painted trees. It was a play on a totally fabricated interpretation of what a machine would think nature is. The trees are trapped in repetitive processes with nothing to do except go along for the ride. The PS50 exhibition setup is an allotment of windows which face out into the street so it's really a 24hour gallery in terms of around the clock viewing potential.
Nevertheless, using a literal definition of “season” meaning “a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature”, I decided to break the stillness by connecting each "act" to timers which set off the "show" between 11pm and 11.15pm. Thus my interpretation of Seasonal Stillness... Get it? Yeah, probably all disappointed now…should have kept it mysterious. Anyway, done now.
In terms of professional development it was a great example of Chris taking on too much at once as the weeks leading up to and preceding this exhibition I was still putting the finishing touches on pieces for the No pane, oodles of gain exhibition and the Graduate show.
I should point out the third “act” featured a subtle visual that the video doesn’t quite pick up. “Off stage” a light shines through a tree while it slowly spins on its axis, which casts moving shadows against the open door. The slow and graceful flickers of shadow must be stood in front of to enjoy its full effect. In other words: you had to be there (between 11pm and 11.15pm of course). I often wonder if anyone saw it in full flight during its month long run. I'll file that under "seemed like a good idea at the time". Come to think of it I should file it under "wasn't even a good idea then, but I meant well". Looking back I have learned that if I'm going to take on so much work I should either make better decisions or get a bigger filing cabinet.
Despite the limited daily exertion placed on the mechanisms it contrasted with my incompetent engineering skills; the offshoot being that two out of the three "acts" managed to break down at least twice. Can't get much more stillness than that. It appears some of my salad days had pineapple in it.
Sesonal Stillness: Act I, act 2, and act 3.